Category Archives: Cairns

Palaszczuk Fails to Protect Queensland Jobs at Sea

Member for Cairns Rob Pyne has condemned the Palaszczuk Government for a failure to act in relation to Rio Tinto’s use of foreign crews on intrastate routes. He said the state government should be making sure Queenslanders are given jobs on ships taking intrastate voyager, not cheap foreign labour. Referring to Pacific Aluminium’s decision to sack Australian workers and replaced them with developing world workers, paid as little as $2-an-hour, Pyne said blame could be sheeted home to Pacific Aluminium parent company Rio Tinto.

Pyne said, “The continued use of foreign crew company contravene Australian labour, safety and wage laws. The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) are on record as saying, “They say they can’t afford Australian workers on Australian wages, yet Alfred Barrios – the global CEO of Aluminium – pocketed $3.6 million in wages and because of their generous decision to pay out US$2.15 per share, he made another $300,000.”

Pacific Aluminium was a profitable subsidiary of mining giant Rio Tinto and as a result did not have a valid business case for sacking its local workers.

In today’s sitting of Queensland Parliament, Mr. Pyne asked, “Will the Palaszczuk Government condemn Rio Tinto’s use of foreign crews on intrastate routes and make sure Queenslanders are given jobs on ships taking intrastate voyager, not cheap foreign labour?”

Pyne said he supported the MUA on this issue and levelled criticism at the Palaszczuk Government that he said “has ‘bent over backwards’ to facilitate Rio Tinto projects such as $2.6 billion Amrun project which is developing one of the world’s largest bauxite deposits in Cape York.’ He said “We must ensure corporations such as Rio Tinto meet their obligations to us as a community.”

“Why is Rio Tinto replacing Australian seafarers with highly exploited foreign labour to the complete disregard of local jobs, national security and environmental risk and what is the Palaszczuk Labor Government going to do about it?” he said.

Pyne says Pitt – Palaszczuk Budget Fails Cairns and FNQ

Member for Cairns Rob Pyne has condemned the Palaszczuk Government for a failure to act in relation to systemic disadvantage experienced by Cairns and Far North Queensland in today’s state budget. He claimed proper consideration had not been given to the demands of crossbench MPs and a number of important projects had not been funded.

Pyne said, “The North Queensland crossbench made four demands of the Government. These were a) that power prices be reduced by 5%; b) a goal of reducing Nth Qld unemployment to 6% by 2020; c) unspent infrastructure funding spent in Nth Queensland to stimulate the economy; and d) establishing a North Queensland Budget Equity Board.

There had been no action on cost of living pressures. Mr. Pyne said he was happy as lobbying for new buildings at Cairns West and Trinity Bay State High School had yielded results with 4.8M and 5.8M respectively. He also welcomed funding for the Performing Arts Centre and the Mental Health Unit but said the only really big infrastructure spend was the 176M for the Cairns Convention Centre.

Many in Cairns would be disappointed in projects that were not funded, including:
• Funding specifically for West Cairns to address unemployment and poverty by targeting education, training and diversion programs in the 3M suburbs.
• Cairns State High School Undercover Area: Stage 1 of their Multipurpose Facility
• Cairns Aquarium, which needs State Government financial participation to contribute to regional jobs growth.
• Health funding to address unacceptably long waiting lists for surgery and to establish an alcohol and other drugs rehabilitation facility.

Pyne said that while you never get everything you want in any budget, it was the failure to address cost of living pressures that was most disappointing. He concluded, “Cairns residents frequently tell me the cost of living is their number one concern, whether it is business or people on low incomes. The failure to provide relief, particularly the failure to meet our call for a 5 per cent reduction in electricity prices was particularly disappointing.”

Ends
Media contact – Rob Pyne 0438 360 376

Pyne urges Cairns to Have Say on Abuse Reporting Law

Member for Cairns Rob Pyne has called for members of the public to make submissions on his Bill to extend mandatory reporting of suspected cases of childhood sexual abuse to “Ministers of Religion” in all educational settings.

Mr. Pyne’s Bill, the Child Protection and Education Legislation (Reporting of Abuse) Amendment Bill 2017 is currently before the Education, Tourism, Innovation and Small Business Committee and Education Committee. The committee is currently considering the bill and will receive submissions from the public up until next Tuesday the 13th of June. People can lodge submissions via the Committee’s website at https://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/work-of-committees/committees/ETISBC/inquiries/current-inquiries/ChildProtectionReport

Mr Pyne concluded, “It is a view of the overwhelming majority of Australians that when someone in a position of power or authority suspects childhood sexual abuse that they report it to the police.”

People can make submissions to the Education, Tourism, Innovation and Small Business Committee until next Tuesday the 13th of June.

The matter of reporting of childhood abuse has been on the agenda nationally with today to see a state funeral of child abuse campaigner Anthony Foster is in Melbourne. Mr Foster fought to ensure Government affording the same accountability and safety to children in Catholic School as they do in public education. Last week the Western Australian AMA also called for reporting of clergy abuse in that state.

Patricia Boylan from the North Queensland Clergy Abuse Reference Group can also be contacted for comment on 0438 774 498.

 

LNP & Government vote down North QLD road funding bid

North Queenslanders could miss out on critical road funding because the LNP was too focused on playing politics in Parliament last week.

The LNP moved a motion that the Government adopt the LNP’s car registration policy. Crossbench MP Robbie Katter moved an amendment to the LNP’s motion, requesting that a greater portion from vehicle registration revenue be quarantined for North Queensland roads.

The motion specified that the funding be set aside for the Flinders Highway, Ray Jones Drive, Millaa Millaa to Malanda Road, and Almaden to Chillagoe Road. Knuth, Pyne, Gordon, Katter

“We weren’t interested in a policy war between the two major parties, we wanted to try and turn this into something meaningful for North Queensland,” Robbie said.

The LNP and government refused to support KAP, and voted the motion down. Crossbenchers Rob Pyne, Billy Gordon and Steve Dickson supported the motion.

“The important point for us is not so much the amount of funding there is but where that funding goes. There have been many years of government neglect where we are constantly trying to catch up. If there is going to be an increase in funds, it should come through to the north,” Robbie said.

Member for Dalrymple Shane Knuth said road funding was critical in North Queensland. “Road funding in North Queensland can be a matter of life and death,” Shane said. “I’m very disappointed our motion wasn’t supported.”

Pyne to support Cairns IGA and small business against southern corporations!

Today, Member for Cairns Rob Pyne and the rest of the Queensland crossbench will vote together against the Trading (Allowable Hours) Amendment Bill.

Rob and fellow crossbenchers Robbie Katter, Shane Knuth, Billy Gordon and Steve Dickson, said they could not in good conscience support a Bill that gave more power to supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths.

“This Bill is not in the best interest of our local retailers such as our IGAs and other local business operators such as hardware stores and motor traders, who employ local people and have been contributing to the Cairns Community for a long time”, he said.

“This bill is sold as making positive changes to trading hours in Queensland, but in reality, it gives more power to the giant supermarket chains Coles and Woolworths, so they can swamp local business.”

“The Parliamentary Committee that investigated the Bill could not even bring itself to recommend it be passed, that’s how bad it is,” he said. The report states: “The IGA State Board stated that following the deregulation of trading hours in December 2016, IGA supermarkets lost $1 million per week in turnover. It advised that the loss in turnover reduced wages by approx. $5.5 million, which will lead to a reduction in employment across the network of approximately fulltime jobs.”

The report suggested that these jobs were not necessarily re-created by the two major supermarkets, because of the use of self-check outs. “This will be disastrous for small business operators in Cairns and other rural and regional areas in Queensland,” Rob said. “I have shown a commitment to supporting small, local businesses, and I will continue to do so. I will not support any changes which will have a negative impact on our local economy”

Mr. Pyne concluded, “Voters want jobs and a thriving local economy which in turn creates a healthy, liveable community. I will continue to support Cairns traders and local business groups in their endeavour to survive and prosper.”

Labor’s Royalty Holiday – another free ride for Adani

Rob Pyne, Independent Member for Cairns, today slammed the Palaszczuk Labor Government for reportedly stitching up a secret royalty deal for billionaire mining magnate Gautam Adani.

“The Premier should hang her head in shame,” says Mr Pyne. “She was elected on a promise not to use taxpayer funds on Adani’s mega-mine and now they’re falling over themselves to fast-track this dodgy project. It’s a total outrage!”

 The shock media report of a “Royalty Holiday” would see Adani pay just $2 million a year in coal royalties once the $21 billion Carmichael project starts operating. This amounts to $320 million dollars in free coal.

The announcement comes hot on the heels of the controversial proposal to give the Indian billionaire, who notoriously relies on the Cayman Island tax haven, a billion dollars from the Northern Australian Infrastructure Facility (NAIF).

Another gift of a public resource was handed to the billionaire by the Government with the new water law that gives Adani access to unlimited free water.

“The Queensland Government is bending over backwards to facilitate Adani’s Reef-destroying coal mine, and they’re using hardworking Queensland taxpayers’ money to do it” said Mr Pyne. “It’s an absolute disgrace. The resources under the ground belong to the people and they can only be dug up once. We’ve got make sure we get this right.”

Mr Pyne’s office has been swamped by calls from constituents demanding to know why Adani was receiving such special treatment from the Government.

“I will be asking some tough questions in Parliament on behalf of my constituents about what exactly this guy has over the Queensland government. The public deserves to know before Adani gets taxpayer-funded free rides to build his coal mine.”

Media enquiries: Rob Pyne MP Cairns

References: Palaszczuk’s 2015 promise http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2015/s4166092.htm

Rob Pyne

Cairns Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) Rehabilitation Centre!

Cairns people are entitled to the same level of services as other Queenslanders, so it is a joy to have our first ever Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) Rehabilitation Centre. Well done SYNAPSE on your efforts. We are closing the gap and overcoming the tyranny of distance at the same time. We are caring for our most vulnerable and creating jobs. This should always be the core business of government.

 

Name: Rob Pyne
Location: Cairns
Website: http://www.robpyne.com.au
Education: JCU and QUT
Employment: Member for Cairns
Website: Date of Birth: 23 April 1967
Education: BA (JCU)., LLB (QUT).
State: Queensland
Country: Australia
Interests: Folk music, social justice and good government
Wins for Cairns: www.robpyne.org
Wins for Queensland: www.robpyne.net

Ministers of religion must report abuse says Pyne.

I have moved the Child Protection and Education Legislation (Reporting of Abuse) Amendment Bill 2017

This Bill follows the widespread and worldwide revelations of childhood sexual abuse by religious representatives over decades. It does not include the confessional as an exception from mandatory reporting.

This Bill is not a direct response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. After all, the issue of abuse of children by church run institutions is a well-known and worldwide fact. The tragic conveyor-belt of witnesses before the Royal Commission only proved to confirm what we all know about institutional abuse. It ruined 1000s of lives and hurt 1000s of vulnerable children.

I am sure we all felt shock and deep sorrow at the staggering statistics that were produced by the commission. One in 14 Catholic clergy were accused of abuse by 4,444 victims over six decades. A terrible abuse of power and a terrible failure of our society. In some individual orders, that rate increased to a staggering one in five. The report also stated that the Church was unwilling to investigate the reported abuse and also assisted in covering up the incidents after they were reported, with Senior Counsel Gail Furness noting to the Commission, that “Children were ignored or worse, punished. Allegations were not investigated. Priests were moved. The parishes or communities to which they were moved knew nothing of their past. Documents were not kept or they were destroyed.”

The worst order, the St John of God brothers, had 40% of religious brothers accused of abuse. The consequences of failing to achieve fundamental structural and cultural change would be dire, not only for the protection of children, but for the fate of the Catholic Church itself. The Christian Brothers, shows that, through its slow descent into irrelevance. Twenty-two per cent of its clergy were alleged perpetrators, the second highest rate of any religious order in the country. More than 1,000 survivors made a claim against the Christian Brothers. Victims were, on average, 11 years old when they were abused. I cannot imagine the horror of this experience for a child.

The Christian Brothers has paid out the most of any Catholic order to survivors, making 763 payments worth $48.5m, an average payment of about $64,000. Its brand is all but gone from Australia, replaced by Edmund Rice Education Australia, an organisation with the Christian Brothers’ founder as its namesake. Christian Brothers’ Oceania leader, Peter Clinch, said there were only 280 brothers left Australia-wide, most of whom were 75 or above. The youngest is 53. They no longer seek new candidates for the order. Well Mr. Speaker, I for one say that is an overwhelmingly good thing.

Royal Commission witness, Christopher Geraghty wrote in 2013 “…. the Church has for centuries presumed that it can police its own borders, that it is an independent empire, not answerable to any secular power. It has had its own language, its own administration and training programmes, its own schools and uni

ormer district court judge and ex-priest Chris Geraghty
ormer district court judge and ex-priest Chris Geraghty

versities, its own system of laws and regulations, its police force and lawyers, a developed list of penalties and its own courts and processes. A law unto itself—an organisation founded by God and answerable only to God.” Well Mr. Speaker, Such an attitude is no longer appropriate. In fact a majority of Australians find such an attitude thoroughly objectionable. It falls horribly short in protecting children.

 

It must be noted that Australia’s first saint, Mary McKillop took action against clergy abuse in 1871 and was excommunicated. One can only wonder how many children were abused by clergy in the 150 years that followed. Childhood is the one time in life that human beings are entitled to feel happy and carefree. It is vital we acknowledge the suffering of those who’ve had their lives ruined by childhood sexual assault that encouraged him to seek justice.

The Bill amends s13E of the Child Protection Act 1999 (Mandatory reporting by persons engaged in particular work) to insert a new category of persons, namely a minister of a religious denomination or society who performs work for, or has an association with, a school. Examples of a religious representative – include priest, pastor, bishop, rabbi, imam

 Regarding the Education (General Provisions) Act 2006, in this Bill:

  • Section 5 Amends s364 (Definitions for pt 10) insert religious representative means a minister of a religious denomination or society.
  • Section 6 amends of s365 (Obligation to report sexual abuse of person under 18 years at State school) to impose a mandatory reporting requirement on a religious representative.
  • Section 7 amends s365A (Obligation to report likely sexual abuse of person under 18 years at State school) to impose a mandatory reporting requirement on a religious representative.
  • Section 8 amends s 366 (Obligation to report sexual abuse of person under 18 years at non-State school) to include religious representative.
  • Section 9 amends s 366A (Obligation to report likely sexual abuse of person under 18 years at non-State school) to include religious representative.

This place has also had members guilty of childhood sexual abuse. Prominent MPs at that and those who are aware details of the Heiner affair know all too well that those in highest positions within government have not been above destroying evidence of childhood sexual abuse. And in that case, as in many others, justice was never served.

We are dealing here with people who, in their customs, traditions and behaviour proclaim a great knowledge of morality and what is right. Well I have never accepted that. My attitude in the past to many of these leaders, like George Pell and others was simply one of a lack of respect. Now it is one of disgust. It is high time they had a higher burden placed on them regarding mandatory reporting and this Bill does just that. It is high time religious representatives are subjected to the same rule of law as many of the other groups who work with children in schools.

Name: Rob Pyne
Location: Cairns
Website: http://www.robpyne.com.au
Education: JCU and QUT
Employment: Member for Cairns
Website: Date of Birth: 23 April 1967
Education: BA (JCU)., LLB (QUT).
State: Queensland
Country: Australia
Interests: Folk music, social justice and good government
Wins for Cairns: www.robpyne.org
Wins for Queensland: www.robpyne.net

New-look Collins Ave bridge Opened!

The $3.1 million Collins Avenue Bridge is finally open to traffic!

Member for Cairns Rob Pyne said the project was an essential link in the Cairns Airport connection and Captain Cook Highway.

“Motorists, pedestrians and cyclists will all benefit from this critical infrastructure project,” Mr. Pyne said.

The project contributed $1.5 million to the project through its Building our Regions critical infrastructure program, with Cairns Regional Council contributing the remaining $1.6 million.

Mr. Pyne said, “The bridge is now complete. Demolition of the existing bridge occurred in 2016. Construction of the pier and abutments commenced in September 2016 and all other works were completed this week.”

The footpaths, landscaping and lighting are all  completed now and the new bridge is open to traffic.

“Replacing this ageing bridge has improved flood mitigation, provide safer access for cyclists and pedestrians and also offers better driving conditions – particularly for heavy vehicles. This has been a critical upgrade to the Edge Hill, Captain Cook Highway and Cairns Airport connection,” Mr. Pyne said.

“The new bridge has improve safety for pedestrians, while continuing to provide an important link to a popular arts and leisure area for our city,” he said.

Name: Rob Pyne
Location: Cairns
Website: http://www.robpyne.com.au
Education: JCU and QUT
Employment: Member for Cairns
Website: Date of Birth: 23 April 1967
Education: BA (JCU)., LLB (QUT).
State: Queensland
Country: Australia
Interests: Folk music, social justice and good government
Wins for Cairns: www.robpyne.org
Wins for Queensland: www.robpyne.net